LONDON (AP) – UK border officials have been ordered to stop systematically checking whether travelers from many countries have tested negative for COVID-19, UK media reported on Wednesday, citing leaked government documents.
While the change is designed to reduce wait times for immigration checks at the airport, it has raised concerns about the importation of new coronavirus cases at a time when infection rates in the countries are already skyrocketing, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The new policy applies to people arriving from so-called Green and Amber List countries, the two tiers of the government’s overseas traffic light system that do not require arrivals to be quarantined, although travelers from France must isolate themselves even if it is an amber country.
The government declined to comment on the leak, but stressed that airlines are still required to verify whether passengers have tested negative for COVID-19 and have completed a passenger locator form before boarding the plane. , reported the Guardian.
Lucy Moreton, a professional union official representing border, immigration and customs workers, said border force personnel were also ordered not to challenge COVID documents.
“It will certainly dramatically reduce wait times and hopefully the level of verbal abuse to which border force personnel are subjected,” Moreton told the BBC. “It’s welcome to us. The UK’s COVID security impact is ultimately a scientific determination. “